If you were in a court of law, would you listen to your attorney? After all, he is your “advocate.” He is there to argue and support your cause. That is what advocates do. An “advocate” is any person who comes along side to assist in any given situation. If we are “walking in the Light (1 John 1:7). We have a Great Advocate!
The apostle John said, “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). He also said, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). That means we have a problem. John was not saying that we are all living vile and debauched lives. The word “sin” simply means to “fail” or “miss the mark,” and all of us have fallen short of God’s plan for our life (Romans 3:23). So, the aged apostle John said:
1 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.
This is a message of HOPE. You see, there is just such an advocate in the great court of the Almighty. Someone once said:
WE owed a debt we could not pay
HE paid a debt He did not owe — C.H. Spurgeon
This is the great exchange. Jesus Christ exchanged His RIGHTEOUSNESS for our GUILT. This is nothing short of amazing! Think about it. Are you willing to listen to Him? John says that he is writing “so that you may not sin.” Some had been saying they “have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness” (1 John 1:6). Like many today, who say “I am a Christian,” but they never have time for God or His Word. This is inconsistent. The apostle Paul put it this way, “They profess to know God, but in [their actions] they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work” (Titus 1:16).
Many people talk really good. They say all the right things, but their actions betray them. John says they “lie and do not practice the truth” (1 John 1:6). This is not what the apostle is talking about here, when he speaks of “sin.” He is not saying that we can live a life of rejecting God’s Word, and think it is okay. John is saying that as we live our lives [walk] guided by God’s Word [light], we may fall short. At that point, we have, an “Advocate,” someone to come along side, assist and plead our case. It is “Jesus Christ the righteous.”
Jesus is “able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession [advocates] for them” (Hebrews 7:25). The apostle Paul asked, “Who is it that condemns?” His answer, “It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession [advocates] for us” (Romans 8:34). That is Jesus is not only the “prosecuting attorney” (bringing the charges), but He is also the “defense attorney.” He “advocates” for those who belong to Him. He can do that because He paid the fine (died for your sins).
This is what John was referring to when he said, “He Himself is the propitiation for our sins.” That word “propitiation” is not a real common word. It means to “win someone’s favor.” In the ancient world, many did not know the one true living God. They would worship gods that were more like super heroes. When there was a problem they “appeased” [propitiated] their gods. They would offer some sacrifice [a propitiation] to their gods. This idea is not found anywhere in the Bible.
However, the apostle Paul did use the word to describe what God did for YOU (Romans 3:23–26)! Note, the apostle said “all have sinned” or fallen short. That means we need an “advocate! The apostle went on to say that we can be “justified” or declared just and right because of God’s “grace” or compassion for us. This is possible because Jesus Christ paid the redemption or ransom for our sins. Then the apostle explained that God the Father offered Jesus (God the Son) as a propitiation by His blood. That is “God offered God as a sacrifice to satisfy God. It is all about His love for you.
It had to be so. God had to demonstrate His own righteousness. He just couldn’t say “Oh poor baby I forgive you.” He had to be “just” and right. So, for God to justify (declare to be just and right) a sinner, He had to first pay the penalty for sin. The apostle went on to say, sinners are justified or declared right by God because of their faith in Jesus. In other words they trust God enough to “walk in the light.”
If I say I “have fellowship with Him,” and do not pay attention to what He says is true, I “lie and do not practice the truth” (1 John 1:6). His propitiation for my sins does not help me. John had said that he wrote so “that you also may have fellowship” and so “that your joy may be full.” Christ’s propitiation provides salvation for all (Hebrews 2:9). You see, God did it for “the whole world” (v 2). It is as wide as sin. Yet, everyone must be reconciled with God (2 Corinthians 5:19-21). If people do not experience the benefit of Christ’s propitiation, the fault is theirs. You see, this “advocacy” is limited to those who have been reconciled (v 1; 1 John 1:7). If you do not belong to Him, you miss out. It would be a terrible shame to miss out on all of this simply because you did not understand or because you just didn’t make the effort to understand. You need to admit (confess) your sins to God (1 Johm1:9) then live a life trusting God’s revelation. Then you will experience the love of God. God is “faithful” to His promises and He is “just.” The price for sin has already been paid by Jesus.
“The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God” — C.S. Lewis
“Light is electromagnetic radiation that has a wavelength that may be seen by the normal unaided human eye.” It is light that reveals the world around us. Without light we are in the DARK!
The apostle John said, “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” What in the world was he saying? Well, in the first verses of his letter the apostle John said that they had “heard,” “seen with their eyes” and “handled” the “Word of Life” [Jesus]. He went on to say that he was “declaring” or telling us what he had heard from Jesus. Then he said:
5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
“This is the message” that the apostles heard from Jesus. This is what he is “declaring” to us. Jesus said that “God is Light.” Now that is profound! Note, He did not say “light is God.” So what does he mean? The apostle is using the word “light” as a figure of speech, to describe God. In other words, it is God that reveals the truth about the world around us. Without God we are in the dark about life, about who we are and about God Himself.
So, if God shows us the truth, how does He do that? In Hebrews 1:1-2 we read, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son.” God reveals the truth through Jesus Christ. As a matter of fact Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12).
The apostle said, “The things we saw and heard from Jesus, who was revealed to us, we tell to you” (1 John 1:2-3). For more than 3 years John had followed Jesus. He was there at the crucifixion. He was in the upper room when the risen Jesus appeared. He was an eyewitness! Now he is telling us that it should be as life changing for us as it was for them. He points out that many were confused about what this means. Some said, “We have fellowship with Him” (v 6).
That is they may have said that they were “Christians” and had fellowship with Jesus, but they still “walk in darkness.” Maybe they just went to church or did what they thought was right. But, they were not trusting Jesus to reveal the truth. Many do that today. The apostle says that if we are doing that, “we lie and do not practice the truth.” In other words we are really not a Christian. Why? Because Jesus also said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). A person may say they are a Christian, but just saying it does not make it so. John says Christians “walk in the light as He is in the light” (v 7). That is, they trust Him enough to allow Him to change their life. Can you trust the all-knowing Creator to lead you in life? If you do trust Him to do that, then “the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses [you] from all sin.” That is good news! Jesus paid the price for your sin when He died on that cross, and He said, “IT IS FINISHED” (John 19:30). There is nothing to add!
A second mistake we might make is to say, that now that we are trusting Jesus to change us, “we have no sin” (v 8). Even while allowing Jesus to light our way, we “fall short” of God’s plan for our life. That is what “sin” is. It is failing to be all that God has planned for us. If we think we have become sinless, “we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” That is, we do not know what God’s Word says. We don’t understand what God’s plan really is for our life.
A third mistake some may make is saying that they have never sinned (v 10). God’s word says, “All have sinned and fall short of God’s plan for their life” (cf. Romans 3:23). So, if we say we have not sinned, we make God a liar, and His word is not in us. This is not good! So, what is the solution? We need to see that God has a good, acceptable and perfect plan for each of our lives (cf. Romans 12:2). If we ignore God’s Word, it may be evidence that we are really not a Christian. But, even when we allow Him to lead us, we will fall short.
There are two things we must see. First, “it is the blood of Jesus Christ His Son [that] cleanses us from all sin” (v 7). It is not our efforts. It is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9). None of us have anything to brag about. It is all about God’s love for you! He did it for you. The victory is won. You only need to “walk in that victory.” It would be a shame to miss out on so great a love.
Second, when we do fail, we need to admit (confess) it to God (v 9). If we trust the Light, then we can trust Him even in our failures. God is “faithful” to His promises and He is “just.” The price for sin has already been paid by Jesus. “Confessing” (admitting) our sins to God is in reality a part of embracing His Word. It is seeking His “Forgiveness” and “cleansing.” If you do not see your need, you only fool yourself.
Once you grasp what it means to “walk in the Light,” and “practice the truth,” you will see Him at work, changing who you are from the inside out. You will begin to experience that fellowship with Him. That fellowship brings lasting joy. God says that in His presence is fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore (without end, Psalm 16:11). We will see later on that the apostle John will tell us that when we experience this fellowship and that joy, we can KNOW that we have eternal life (1 John 5:13).
What doing with your life? You may see jail as an interruption of what you want to do. Or you could see it as God at work in your life. It can be a starting point of a new life. It is up to you!